The Naturalistic Worldview of a Punk Rock ProfessorInterview by Joshua Chaplinsky
This year marks the 30th anniversary of seminal punk rock act Bad Religion. Seminal as in highly influential, but also metaphorically, as in "pertaining to or consisting of semen", because from an evolutionary standpoint they are the seed that spawned countless bastard musical progeny. That would make co-founder and lead singer, Greg Graffin, the patriarch of modern melodic punk rock, but please, let's not punish him for the sins of the son. Stubborn children need to learn from their own mistakes.
In addition to fronting the band for longer than the lifespan of The Beatles and Zeppelin combined, Graffin has also found time to pursue his love of science. He received his PhD from Cornell University and currently teaches evolution at UCLA, so that's Doctor Graffin to you. New book Anarchy Evolution chronicles the convergence of these seemingly disparate interests, and also serves as an exposition of Graffin's naturalistic worldview.
Having seen Greg speak the night before, I knew what to expect- a down to earth guy lacking the pretension normally associated with both rock stars and intellectuals. We met in the lobby of his hotel to discuss life, the universe and everything, in an attempt to come up with our own version of The Ultimate Answer. read more »
Doing It Live with Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape PlanInterview by Joshua Chaplinsky
Birthed out of the hardcore punk scene in beautiful Morris Plains, New Jersey, The Dillinger Escape Plan have been rocking balls since 1997. To describe their chaotic blend of anything and everything to the average listener is like trying to explain the splendor of the Grand Canyon to a blind person- not worth the effort. If you are are not already familiar with the storied past of these genre shifting face-melters, you might as well get it from their Wikipedia page, because the past is in the past. After testing out their spindly newborn legs and devouring their own afterbirth for sustenance, this forward-thinking band has done nothing but barrel headlong into the future. In fact, there's a good chance this interview hasn't even happened yet.
Having just finished up five and a half weeks of touring in support of Option Paralysis, Ben Weinman, frenetic stage performer and insouciant interviewee, kindly agreed to speak with me after much back and forth between a publicity go-between. I caught up with him via the modern miracle of Skype to discuss Bill O'Reilly, Shit Yeah, and all things Dillinger. read more »
All Work, No Whine: Turning Grapes Into GoldInterview by Christopher Stipp
Straight up, I was frightened. I mean, this guy just does not like talking to the press.
Maynard James Keenan, front man for Tool and A Perfect Circle, has always proved to be elusive to me as an artist. I've appreciated, more than anything, his reticence to bask in the warm white glow of the floodlights that seem fixated on our rock gods. On one extreme you have the Bonos of the world, cavorting in front of snapping cameras and stumping for issues that they appear to be wholly in favor of and asking for your help in supporting them. And then on the furthest point on that spectrum, you have people like Maynard. Someone who eschews publicity, talking, communicating with a press that just needs another interview, another headline to get through the day. Guys like him, artists like him, it is all about the music, the creation of it. And he doesn't need a ounce of your soy ink, thank you very much, to promote it because he has legions at his back who are there willing to find it and embrace it.
One of the things that Maynard was doing with the time afforded to someone who doesn't have to check into a 9 to 5 job everyday and has enough disposable income to make smart decisions about what he needs to do to support his way of living is...
...He decided to grow some grapes. read more »